By Ms. Suzanne Ovel (Madigan AMC)August 6, 2019
MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. -- During an exercise designed to simulate a large number of Soldiers deploying at once, Madigan tested for the first time its ability to expand the Soldier Readiness Processing Center's medical component at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Aug. 6.
The day-to-day SRP medical section staff of 24 jumped to nearly six times its normal size, with 50 providers and 75 support team members filling up both the SRP site at Waller Hall and the expansion site at the JBLM Mini Mall to process 1,775 I Corps Soldiers.
"Our mission for Madigan is to ensure that Soldiers are medically ready to deploy, and if a unit is called to go on short notice to anywhere in the world -- it could be a natural disaster, it could be for operational missions -- then Madigan would actually process a large bulk of Soldiers in a very short period of time. What I Corps has asked of its units is to test the number that we would actually be able to process through the Soldier Readiness Processing, both the administrative side and then the medical side," said Col. Kandace Wolf, Madigan's deputy commander for health and readiness.
Regular SRP staff members like Ashley Lutz, a medical support assistant, trained some of the augmenting support staff on how to check Soldiers in and out of the inprocessing line and how to use accompanying software such as MHS GENESIS, the Medical Protection System, and the Deployment and Reconstitution Tracking Software. From there, Soldiers met one on one with providers to undergo health assessments.
While reserve component medical support units can supplement the SRP as well, the exercise looked at how to augment those units with Madigan personnel.
"Should something happen, Madigan providers will have to step up until reserve components MSUs can fall in, so it's important for all of our providers to have access to the systems they need (and) to know what they have to do to get Soldiers out the door," said Dr. Robert Meadows, chief of the physical exam section at Madigan and the medical director of the SRP.
He emphasized that the exercise was designed to stress the system, and to test both flow (such as numbers of Soldiers who can be moved through the SRP and where any obstructions might be) and software systems to see how they respond to having more Soldiers booked at one time than ever before.
In fact, Madigan's informatics experts joined the exercise to evaluate the SRP workflow.
"The specific thing we're looking for is the process as the Soldiers go through the process, how long does it take? Also, we've got simulation software that we can put our data into and then figure out where improvements can be made and if they're beneficial," said Phillip Jenkins, a clinical workflow analyst.
He shared that his team can later use simulation software to see if adding a set number of providers, or nurses or MSAs, would make a noticeable impact on improving the numbers of Soldiers who can process through the SRP.
Beyond Madigan testing its own systems and processes, the data collected will be shared with the leadership of the operational units who processed through the SRP to help evaluate their own readiness, said Wolf.
"It's a litmus test; it's a measure so that commanders know whether or not their Soldiers are ready to deploy. Part of the documentation at the SRP site puts the information from this process into a couple of different databases that feed into a commander's portal … all readiness statistics that the commander uses to determine their readiness," she said.
Likewise, units with Modified Table of Organization and Equipment-Assigned Personnel also processed through the SRP and could use the exercise as an opportunity to ensure their MAP Soldiers are fully ready, Wolf said.
She added that part of the intent of the exercise was to test a scenario in which MAP Soldiers are pulled out of Madigan at the same time that other units are also deploying, requiring other hospital staff to then support the expanded SRP to meet the mission.
Altogether, Wolf was impressed with the Madigan staff who jumped into supporting the exercise.
"I am just amazed at the number of Madigan employees, both military and civilian, that have just rolled up their sleeves, and are here at four in the morning with a smile on their face and ready to do their part to serve our Soldiers," she said.